Phil Mickelson, out of public view for more than two months following inflammatory comments about the new Saudi-backed golf league, has requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational event, according to a statement from her longtime agent Steve Loy on Monday. Additionally, Mickelson signed up for the PGA Championship and the US Open.
“Phil currently has no concrete plans on when or where he will play,” the statement read. “Any action taken in no way reflects a final decision made, but rather to keep all options open.”
The PGA Championship, where Mickelson is the defending champion after becoming the oldest major winner in history last year at Kiawah Island, begins May 19 at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla. The first LIV Golf Invitational event takes place at Centurion Golf Club near London from June 9-11. It will feature a 48-man field and shotgun tees with a 54-hole no-cut format that guarantees paydays for every participant.
Mickelson hasn’t played on the PGA Tour since January and has been quiet since issuing a statement following writer Alan Shipnuck’s release of highly controversial quotes from the six-time great winner regarding golf investments LIVs supported by Saudi Arabia on February 17. In these quotes, as part of an interview for an upcoming biography, Mickelson called the Saudis “scary mothers” and claimed to have helped draft material for the upstart league to gain influence with the PGA Tour. Afterwards, Mickelson said he was stepping away from acting “to prioritize those I love the most and work towards being the man I want to be.” As part of that away spell, Mickelson did not play in the Masters, where he is a three-time winner, for the first time since 1994.
Mickelson has long been linked to the new LIV golf league and expressed his disdain for the PGA Tour’s “abhorrent greed” in a February interview with Golf Digest. Monday evening marked the deadline for PGA Tour players to request a conflicting event release from the tour, which is required to participate in any tournament held in front of a tour event. The PGA Tour has granted players releases to participate in the Saudi International, an Asian Tour event funded by the same Saudi government-owned PIF that supports the eight-event international series. But the tour did so with restrictions and stressed that they did not see their decision as setting a precedent.
This year’s US Open takes place at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass., and falls the week after the LIV event in England. The US Open is the only major that Mickelson, 51, has not won, and he first needed a special invitation to take to the court at last year’s US Open in Torrey Pines before winning the PGA Championship.